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Apr 30, 2005

Kidding - What can I write, when I cant write

Dear Diary
Today, I saw another kid write a diary
But then I dont know to read or write
And even if I knew
I wouldnt get time from the work, to write

To celebrate growing old, birthday
Hope the children stays young, is the wish today
Some said, today, April 30th, is my day
Anti Child Labour Day, Today

After having outlived my use
My kids, will I too have to use?
Or their future will I be able to choose.
And save them from abuse and bruise and say I refuse?

Wish I could think about myself & my future today
But I have to work for my family to survive, today
Though to think about myself and write a diary I dont have time,
Hope someone will think of me and spend for me their time...

-Perhaps by a child, from the data given below

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Few data on Child Labour in India from

Children are often treated as the "property" of the very adults who are supposed to take care for them, being ordered around, threatened, coerced, silenced, with complete disregard of them as "persons" with rights and freedoms.

17 million children in India work as per official estimates, NGOs numbers though are higher at 100 million

•They work for 12 - 15 hours a day and earn less than Rs.3 per day.

•They work with explosives, metals, and poisonous gases from the age of 3 - 4 years.

1 out of 4 children work… at cost of a childhood.

•A study found that children were sent to work by compulsion and not by choice, mostly by
parents, but with recruiter playing a crucial role in influencing decision

•When working outside the family, children put in an average of 21 hours of labour per week

•19% of children employed work as domestic help
•90% working children are in rural India
•85% of working children are in the unorganized sectors
•80% of child labour is engaged in agricultural work.

25% of the victims of commercial sexual exploitation in India are below 18 years of age.
•There are approximately 2 million child commercial sex workers between the age of 5 and 15 years and about 3.3 million between 15 and 18 years
•500,000 children are forced into this trade every year

•Millions of children work to help their families because the adults do not have appropriate employment and income thus forfeiting schooling and opportunities to play and rest.

•Children also work because there is demand for cheap labour. High incidence of child labour is a result of high incidence of adult unemployment.

•Large numbers of children work simply because there is no alternative - since, they do not have access to good quality schools.

•Poor and bonded families often "sell" their children to contractors who promise lucrative jobs in the cities and the children end up being employed in brothels, hotels and domestic work. Many run away and find a life on the streets.


  1. the entire irony of this situation lies in the fact that most of the children are forced into working but cannot leave, just because there is no security for their lives afterwards.

    What India lacks is a social security system, some thing that guarantees such children a right to live life as children....someplace that guarantees not only them, but the families that are dependent on them a hope to survive...

    How many a times have we seen ragpickers...little children who we despise..or that little kid at the traffic crossing selling a small knick-knack whom we most uncourteously shoo away..

    now ask it always good to blame that there is no security for such people in our system..can we not spend 5 rs. to buy that useless thing...for us its nothing...we spend much more than that when we go to hotels..its nothign for us...but so much for that kid...

    maybe we do nothing ... only give that kid happiness to last a couple of moments...but believe me...its worth.

    I know i can't do enough, but sometimes i do just enough!

  2. agreed, a social security would make a difference.

    I dont think just because a child is involved, one should buy the product.
    I choose to not buy firecrackers since in most of these cases, child labour is involved.
    At the sametime, I dont find it easy to decline to buy something from a child if its selling one. Ultimately I guess it depends on the product.

    Another thing which depresses me easily is when I see kids in restaurants, cleaning tables or when i see them as domestic servants.

    I just like to think I am compensating it by supporting CRY through financial contributions.
    Another outlet would be sponsoring atleast partly the education of servant's children if one has , or those in that area.

    And if we ever make a visit to a rural area, undertaking an education partly or wholly of a child.

    If one decides to take care of even one, there would be a good degree of improvement.

  3. well WD even I m against buying firecrackers...though there are many reasons, one of them is the child labour involved in making the same.

    And believe it or not, i've been to hotels that proudly display "we don't employ child labour" posters and have children working..picking up plates. Still remember a conversation with one such child..when I asked his age, he said 20. Trust me, he could'nt have been more than 14.

    Supporting CRY is really great..that I do occasionaly by purchasing greetings etc..when my finances are sound maybe i'll sponsor a child for life...

    I really don't know (& unfortunately can't think of) any ways to completely stop child labour...reason bieng that there is no guarantee that their lives would better least today if this happens, their lives would be much worse.

    Somehow I feel bad...that I can't even think of any solution where the govt. is not involved. Ah..well..looks like I can still help out only a few of them..not all.

  4. There is a line between enthusiasm and becoming preachy.
    I hope I dont cross that line, when I say this.

    But cant resist mentioning..
    The minimum donation for cry is rs.100
    sponsoring a child 's education for a year is rs.800.
    more are of course mentioned in websites
    online payment is possible and b4 i forget,i am not associated in anyway with CRY:) I mention cry because everyone is familiar with it.

    We need not do something big, but consistently doing somethin small will be fine too. We can decide to make a donation on a date important to us, or as gifts on friends or close relatives birthday. (I thought people will not like it, but last year got a good response to it).

    Though familiar with some aspects of the CRY data on children was shocked when i came across the 1 in 4, today.

  5. gaya...i love ur like readin n ponderin over ju duznt seem to cum 2 my mind to comment~
    i love ur stats fact 4 a ref on stats tod...i refered 1 o ur blogs!
    this again is really good..!

  6. Last year i lost someone from my life,changed everything,but still somewhere i know i cherish the moments i spent with him,i just wanted to do something,and i knew abt CRY,and i did what i always wanted to do,He might not even be aware of what i do,he is happily involved with someone else,but i smile every year on his birthday for rest of my life because i know i can make a diff in a small kids life.
    When i was in my graduation,i met this boy who was the brother of the lady who works in my house.14yrs of age,asked his name,he looked at me and sais "Dharmesh" she asked us to show him some work,i came to know that he left school after his 7th,After a while i asked him,will u study if i pay u r fees,he looked at me,maybe not trusting the words,but he noded his head.Well,for 3 years it was a struggle for me and my mom and my bro to make him study,sometimes he used to run away.sometimes he used to say he will work but not study.Well,after 6 years,today he has done a course in ITI after his tenth and works as electrician.Well,today he came to my house to fix some problem with the wiring.When i wanted to pay him he smiled and said "amma,u paid me for my whole life,why this again"
    Gaya,i never wrote abt it in my blog,but wanted to share it here because the first aspect would be that not all can support others financially.Well,all ican say is it wouldn cost much.As u already said Min. amt for CRY is 800 per year,and gaya,i too come from a middle class family,and when i was a student,all i could spare was time for this boy and a books and pens and papers,well,i sure am beyond words today when i see the kid growing up to be a breadwinner for his family.

  7. We make it a point to collect books and papers from notebooks which we dint use and dresses and give it to the street homes and other needy kids to make sure that we give back to the society which gave us somuch.And i can proudly say that my students are always with me in such activities,whenever i talk abt it first time in the class i get a weak response,only a few raising their hands,and slowly as we start working i see more joining and well,end of it i see whole class joining us in the work.We sure can make a diff,provided we have the conviction.

  8. Well,gaya,one more thing,read the last post and comments "why should women wear skimpy clothes" well,i wouldn want to answer that,many of them answered it,but one thing for u,let anyone say anything,do and write what u believe in,"Akele chal padethe,log milthe gaye,kaarvaan bantha gaya" meaing i started the journey alone and ppl slowly joined and it turned into a carnival"
    Goodluck lady

  9. neels u made me cry:)
    so wonderful to come across people like you. i am sure you would have inspired more by your actions:)

    i am not the representative of women, and may not present accurately the cause, but i have replied to the best of my ability on the dress part.

    and agree entirely with you. :)

    You made my day:)

  10. rams thanks a lot:)
    comments like these do keep me going:)

  11. I think most of the times parents are also to blame. true sometimes they r driven by poverty, but in many cases they just dont care abt the children, coz their parents treated them similarly.

  12. spark, well i agree with you that ,that could be the case in many instances, but at the same time, in its site CRY does point out that many times, because of prevelance of child labour, adults dont find employment.

  13. Nice to see a post on social cause... We have two major reason for prevalence of child labour:
    1)Parents,driven by poverty:
    Poverty cant be eliminated...what we can probably do is to provide monetary help to poor parents who send their kids to school so that need for CL doesnt arise in first place...

    Social orgs like CRY do help in supporting such poor parents...but they need more support from us...

    2)Lower wage advantage for employers:
    I guess we already have rules about compulsory education and no child labour below age of 14...What govt can do is to just enforce it strictly...Rigorous punishment(say 5 years RI) to erring employers should help...

    I do believe CL can be eradiacated with proper steps by govt and proper support by public...

  14. Thanks Anbu:)
    and I agree with you, absolutely:)
    When we read one child in four is a victim of child labour,
    requires drastic attention of the society.

  15. hi gaya,
    lets take an example of a small restaurant. they have lots of children working. now since children are payed less, the owner can afford to keep prices low & hence his business is doing well.
    If tommorow, he stops employing children and employs adults, he will have to pay higher wages which means, he will have to increase the prices which the public will not like and hence stop going to his restaurant.

    So ultimately, it's because of us, that children are employed so that we can enjoy stuff at cheaper prices.

  16. "gaya"

    Yeah a very sad plight of kids ...
    Even the zari kids have suffered so much that a woung boy died at the age of 12 recently ...

    Has nyone ever thought that their exquisite beautiful clothes are at the cost of such young lives ...

    I shudder at any sort of zari or embroidery stuff now !!!

    In fact i think we shud all boycott such things so that the evil stops ...

  17. Agree with you xxx (hmmm should i call u xxx or triplex. earlier i used to call u triplex when i was angry and being formal with u :D).
    But is an increase of few Rupees worth the damage it does to the child?

    Amita agree . I think the TN govt has banned a particular style of sari, which earlier only children could do. But I dont know if other forms exist in weaving
    After all the firecracker industry, is mainly in TN.

    Another post I had made some months back in rediffblogs
    "Fizz of Child labour
    Fizz of Child labour

    The Fizz Of Child Labour In the guise of celebrating team spirit, the latest Pepsi advertisement on TV romanticises child labour and offers it celebrity endorsement. Perhaps the Advertising Standards Council of India needs to step in?--.The Pepsi advertisement romanticises child labour and offers it celebrity endorsement. It justifies and encourages the use of child labour. Perhaps the Advertising Standards Council of India will see reason and urge PepsiCo India to immediately withdraw the advertisement. Colas not only seem to have permitted levels of pesticides that could harm your body; their ads have permitted levels of irresponsibility that can harm the moral fabric of society. S. Anand .
    One may not entirely with certain other observations in the article, but surely one agrees on the above statement. If you agree with above and wish to do something you, can complain online with takes less than 5 minutes, click on on the How to Complain in the ASCI website.Posted by gayathri eswar on 12:46 PM


    for whatever it was worth, had even sent an online complaint to the ASCI.

    But if 50 other people had filed a similar complaint, surely things would have been differently treated?


  18. Call centre hero saves 11-yr-old from rapist

    the 11 year old girl, was sitting on the pavement of J J Marg with her father, when Nikhil Salvi (33) approached them. asked her if she wanted to work as a maid in a nearby building. her father sent her 2 brothers with her, but the man asked the 2 bros. to wait outside the building and attempted to rape her in the lift.

    thankfully , Bangera, waiting for the lift on the fourth floor, heard her screams and managed to open the lift grill and prevent the rape.

    while appreciating mr.bangera, lets not also forget the risk the children face when they have to become child labourers.

  19. gaya
    call me xxx:)
    we have to blame ourselves for the plight of the children

  20. this donkey is really wise...:) Very good post indeed. This is really bad, how could someone force little kids for labor work.

  21. there was one man...who tried to rape the girl...

    and there was another who saved her...

    How much further can we reduce our dignity...such incidents of exploitations are a big shame on all our faces. Even though there was someone who stopped this, I am forced to think the multiple times this happens without being checked.

    First children are exploited financially, and then sexually??? Where are we headed to?

    Don't take me in the wrong sense. I really appreciate what mr.Bangera did. But I am equally ashamed at what Mr. Salvi was trying to do...and what I can think now is the light punishment he'll get off with.

    And the society will accept him again...

    Sad...very sad.

  22. tarun:)
    well the donkey might be wise occassionally but in essense remains a donkey:)

    well just have to hope the guy who attacked reforms in prison, if he goes to one i.e.
    but yes the situation is grim to say the least.

  23. Reforms?? which reforms in jails gaya?do we have such system in India?well,all i see is the guy getting off without a punishment also,so many incidents where he might simply offer financial compensation to the victim and mind u,the girl and the family who is already financially weak would easily take the bait and let off the guy.Cant blame him,for them everyday is a struggle making the two ends meet.But where does these so called women's organizations or social organizations go at that time? or the socalled society concious media,will the plenty available damn news channels cover the news atall? or it will be for 5 min in the news before a 10 min ad?
    Wish,just a wish that we had more ppl and much more concious media in this country who can think straight without getting down to the glitters and charm of the so called todays society

  24. Can't agree more with you neelima.

    The media today has lost focus. Its more like a boat that has sails, but no rudder. So it goes just where the wind takes it, and has no will of its own to know, or to decide, the direction that it has to take.

    Theresult: Mindless stories that have nothing to do with society. Celebrities and page3 people seem to be the media's ony concern.

    And when they faced with this allegation, the media always has one reply. We also do something for the society. Even though that 'something' in somewhere on an inner page, tucked away in a small corner. As good as doing nothing, I'd say.

    And TV news channels are even worse. I had't seen glamorization of grief until recently. I still have a high opinion of the BBC as a news channels, but the Indian news channels are nothing short of crap.

    Why would the print media show these incidents on the front page? They are least sensational...

    And why do TV news channels glamorize such incidents? Do they have no respect for privacy?

    It seems we are becoming a nation of questions rather than one of answers..

  25. what we see everyday , fails to register much unless viewed differently.....
    child labour is a part and parcel of life today....
    a few days back I read in the newspaper how a girl who rolls beedis in Andhra pradesh attends school and does her work too...there are children who work in films and tv who are also child labourers of a kind.....there are children who take care of smaller children in their houses and elsewhere.
    Recently there was a case in Hyderabad where the father and the brother had been molesting a 14 year old girl. She became pregnant and informed her Sister in law after 5 months cos she did no know what was happening to her body.
    A boy who comes selling tea to my office says that he cannot go to school bcos his father has left their family...a mother who is 8months pregnant and a couple of more children smaller than him. He is 8 years old.
    These are all heart rendering issues ....we can do our little bit....and hope for a better world tomorrow..

  26. neels when i meant reforms, i didnt mean prison reforms but reforming from within. if the guy is released after serving his sentence, surely he will think twice before attempting to rape another girl (equally possible of course that he would think i should be more careful next time). from what i read he is not a bigwig (who believe they can get away even with murder).

    i am sure there is a % of the molestors and rapists who do it , mainly because they Think, they can get away with it. And think they will have the backing of a section of the society, if they provide some excuse..(after all there is a still a section which looks the other way when there is an assault ).

    And so I expressed that hope.
    Tihar i think attempted some reforms under Bedi, but I dont know the status of it now.


    Saw the movie Mad City (dustin hoffman, travolta) well the situation depicted can be equally applied to the media. Media need not be charity organisations but when the public trusts them , its not fair to abuse the trust either by potraying the Page 3 as the real news. I think most of us are cynical of politicians and admin, and perhaps Supreme Court has some credibility for us. Otherwise for majority its just the media..and sad to see, even the print media, following the trends of tv.

    kavita i agree with u.
    but i think we can be like neels and make a difference even if its just one person, re.Neels 30th april comment.

  27. I did say we can do our little bit , and I do it too in my own ways....just that there are so many aspects of society which need a change and it would take a lifetime just to list them and there is so less time considering the fact that we have to take care of our survival too. I recall an interview of Sivasankari, the tamil author. She does not have children. She said that God has given us the opportunity to adopt the society as our children and not restrict ourselves to the wellbeing of our children alone....a thought which struck me at a young age and remains with me....

  28. kavitha agree with you, and when adoption is suggested to me, i think of what sivasankarisaid (she said it again in an interview i saw on tv i think) and that thought is very inspiring.

  29. WOW!!! this post of urs touched me so much!! am so glad...the way it started with Diary & ended with such a social cause!

    sorry...Hi I was just passing by and this post caught my eye!

    Amazing!!!! all I would say...good thoughts!

    good luck


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